Data Theft Overtakes Ransomware as Top Concern for IT Decision Makers


Data theft is a primary concern for IT decision-makers, forging its way ahead of ransomware attacks, according to a survey conducted by integrity360.

The company has also recently inaugurated a new security operations centre in Dublin, Ireland.

Speaking to Infosecurity Brian Martin, head of product development, innovation and strategy at Integrity360, said: “We were expecting ransomware to be number one, but it turns out, amongst the surveyed population, that data theft came out quite significantly on top.”

Knowing how incomprehensibly damaging ransomware  is to companies, highlights just how large-scale the issue of data theft has become in recent times.

The company surveyed 205 IT security decision makers between August 9-14, 2023 from various verticals, organization size and across different roles within cybersecurity. Over half of the respondents (55%, to be exact) cited data theft as the biggest concern, with ransomware taking third place (29%) after phishing (35%).

On further breakdown of the findings, CIOs (30%) and CTOs (33%) surveyed also ranked advanced persistent threats (APTs) and targeted attacks as a bigger concern than ransomware.

As featured in our previous article, data theft leaves companies and organisations of all shapes and sizes in utter turmoil, resulting in huge financial losses, job losses and a loss of client confidence in them going forward. The ramifications cannot be underestimated. The need for enterprise cyber security has never been greater.

Nation-State Threats a Concern

Martin said: “Most Advanced Persistent Threat (APT) attacks are targeted and they’re pretty well-crafted, stealthy and generally well- resourced, possibly state-sponsored.”

He noted that these qualities mean that APTs are particularly difficult for cybersecurity practitioners to detect and defend against.

Martin cautioned, however, that before organizations worry about advanced threats, they ought to ensure that they have basic cybersecurity hygiene in place.

Other stark findings included 89% of respondents reporting an increase in the volume of security alerts over the past 12 months.

The role of cyber security conferences and events to counteract threats

Echoed in the United States Cybersecurity Magazine enabling your teams to attend enterprise cyber security conferences is arguably the best way to educate about the current security issues within technology, finding suitable solutions and identifying gaps and weaknesses in the current systems. Cyber security conferences provide unparalleled, up-to-date information on defending against cyber threats and of course, include essential networking opportunities, where best practice can be shared.

Ireland’s New Security Operations Centre

Recently, the company also launched a new security operations centre (SOC) at its location in Dublin following an €8m investment. The purpose-built facility will expand the company’s pan-European network of SOCs located in Sofia, Stockholm and Naples. The Sandyford facility in Dublin will be the group’s largest SOC utilizing the latest technology and secure biometrics systems. Such an investment echoes the need to invest in and prioritise against the constant cyber security threats that can leave any company vulnerable.

What Happens in a SOC?

Integrity360, one of the leading cyber security specialists, outline the fundamental role of a SOC.

Security Operations Centres provide:

  • Essential firewall services – which create a strong perimeter defence of a company network
  • Threat vulnerability assessment and management – Scanning of a customer’s network and examining patching levels, which can then highlight critical vulnerabilities
  • Incident response management – Immediate access to malware experts, who can add the decision-making perspective, proprietary tools and proven methodologies to respond quickly when an incident does actually occur
  • Managed detection and response (MDR) – Enables a rapid response and containment of threats that have bypassed preventative controls across networks at this point, therefore delivering improved security outcomes for clients